I think "numerically identical" is just a stupid way of saying "they're the same".

In English, at least, there appears to be no good way to differentiate between "this is the same thing" and "this is an exactly similar thing (except that there are at least two of them)". In programming, you can just test whether two objects have the same memory location, but the simplest way to indicate that in English about arbitrary objects is to point out that there's only one item. Hence the need for phrasing like "numerically identical".

Is there a better way?

More "Stupid" Questions

by NancyLebovitz 1 min read31st Jul 2013498 comments


This is a thread where people can ask questions that they would ordinarily feel embarrassed for not knowing the answer to. The previous "stupid" questions thread went to over 800 comments in two and a half weeks, so I think it's time for a new one.